I said many times, that I did not feel we needed a left tackle as much as most people on this board, and even created a thread right after we signed Tevi and Davenport, that the signings changed everything. I'd rather not get into any I told you so bickering. We were all right on some things and wrong on some things, and in the end we are all Colts fans. I am posting this topic to add context to this offseason. Maybe if I explain how the totality makes sense to me then it might help others digest it too, or at the very least look at it from a different point of view.
I felt all along that if a left tackle fell to us (the right value) then we would take him. That turned out to be true. However, I thought we would double-down on defensive ends (starting by taking one in the first round). We just chose different players than I wanted. I had Ojualri and (Shaka Toney or Malcolm Koonce). It was a similar concept, but with different types of players. I wanted the quick and speedy ends that could play from the 9 technique and get after the quarterback. Ballard wanted the more traditional 43 ends. There are definitely some takeaways from this offseason that will help us understand Ballard's vision moving forward.
21. Colts select Edge, Kwity Paye, Michigan
This was a value pick on the Colts board, but also a safe pick. At the very least, Paye will set the edge and force everything inside... That is a very important aspect of playing defense. The last thing a defense wants is for some quick back to get a "one-on-one" on the outside with any player. A good defensive end forces the play back inside. Why? Because that's where most of the defense is. I have always coached defensive ends to stay home and to not chase the play on the other side of the field, because we need someone home in case the play comes back to us.
Just a side note tip, this is important to understand when watching tape on a player... Sometimes it might look like great effort for an end to chase a play all the way across the opposite side of the field, but it's likely a lack of awareness. You have to watch how the corner is playing, and sometimes even a linebacker or safety will come up to protect the backside. If there is no one there and that defensive end chases the play all the way across the field... He wasn't supposed to do that. A good offensive coordinator will see that, and burn you on the next play with a reverse or some type of misdirection. RPO's were designed to attack undisciplined ends. When the end slows down and doesn't chase the play, don't assume that has anything to do with motor. The end is doing what he is taught. It sounds simple, but some players just never learn that it can be a good thing not to chase the ball everywhere.
Paye can set the edge, and he has proven so against top level college athletes... That almost always translates to the next level. Again, that is why this is a safe pick.
What Paye is lacking is the ability to use the traits he possesses to rush the passer. It is teachable! And we have to remember that he wasn't given the opportunity to play one position in college. Michigan moved him around all over the place. Dwight Freeney played right defensive end for us his entire career. I challenge anyone to find tape on him lining up anywhere as a Colt, but right defensive end. This is important with a player like Paye, because it is the only way to bring out his true potential. Right now he is a jack of all trades on the defensive line. We need him to master right defensive end though. That's where we will see the best that Paye has to offer. What scares me about the Paye pick, is that the Eberflus Colts defense isn't known for this philosophy. Flus likes versatility, and he moves them around everywhere. If we move Paye around everywhere on the defensive line then in my opinion, it was a bad pick. If we leave him at right defensive end, then I think will grow, and become a very good player for us.
54. Colts select Edge, Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt
This was my favorite pick of the Colts draft. Dayo is 100% a legit first round pick. Folks, this is a JPP clone, and he absolutely has that kind of ability. The injury this offseason dropped him, and makes it somewhat of a risky pick, but the possible reward is a huge payoff. I would love to see the Colts take their time with him... Training camp for him will be learning the mental part of the game. Even though Dayo can play all across the line, I would love for the Colts to exclusively play him at left defensive end. I think it would be best to redshirt him for at least half of the season... Hopefully the Colts don't set an aggressive timeline. If we take our time with him, then this could be our homerun of the draft.
In my mind, the success of the first 2 picks will depend on our defensive philosophy. We need masters at positions. We already know what Buckner and Grover are, right? They have mastered their positions. Now we need to mature by allowing Dayo to master playing strongside end (He is a perfect fit), and we need to keep Paye at weakside end so he finally has the opportunity to put it all together.
127. Colts select TE, Kylen Granson, SMU
We can call Granson a tight end all we want, but he is really an H-back. There is no point in comparing his size to other tight ends... He is a hybrid tight end/fullback... We have needed a player like this for a long time. For example; we don't run much from the I-formation... But when we do, we need a full back. But we don't want to waste a few roster spots for situational football. Granson can lineup inside or outside in the backfield. We have seen Jack Doyle take on this role at times, but it is not really his strength. Doyle is an excellent blocker when he lines up outside in the backfield. Granson has the traits to line up inside or outside in the backfield. This opens up a lot of creativity for Frank Reich.
165. Colts select S, Shawn Davis, Florida
I honestly believe that we were going to take Jamar Johnson here, but Denver took him right in front of us. Davis is built like a free safety, but hits like a strong safety. I could see Davis getting some playing time this year, especially in bigger nickel situations.
218. Colts select QB, Sam Ehlinger, Texas
Count me in as someone who really likes this pick. This is a 6th round pick, that will absolutely help the quarterback room. Would it be a bad thing for Sam to make the 53? Not at all... We don't know what we have with Eason yet. I really like Eason and think he will easily hold onto the backup role, but we just don't know. Sam is going to push Eason to be better, and that will make this football team better. It will make for a very exciting offseason... Watching the big arm Eason compete against the athletic Ehlinger.
229. Colts select WR, Mike Strachan, Charleston (WV)
This is a big receiver... He is extremely raw. I think he only knew the 9 route in college (that and going in motion to block), so he has a lot to learn. He is built like AJ Green, but will need a lot of development. It was interesting to hear that his dad is old friends with Michael Irvin, and that Irvin had mentored him... Bottom line, this is what 7th round picks are supposed to be. Take a flier on a kid from a small school and see what happens. You just never know... It worked out for Pierre Garcon.
248. Colts select OL, Will Fries, Penn State
Fries can play any position on the OL. I am sure he could snap too if he was asked. This is kind of like the Pinter pick.. Only Pinter is more C/G and Fries is more G/T... You have to keep drafting these kinds of players every year. If you don't then you will find yourself in a situation where you need to overhaul the entire offensive line from scratch. This pick was made to keep the well wet.
Even though it's not Colts related, the run on long snappers.... That was fun, and something I will never forget. It was fun hanging out with a lot of folks in the draft day threads this year. I had a good time.
I want to especially thank the moderators for doing such a great job, and keeping the draft day thread conversations on track... To be honest, I never realized how tough your job was until then. But the conversation stayed right where it should, and the moderators deserve a lot of credit for that. Thank you!